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Preliminary Smarter Balanced Assessment Results Reflect Urgent Need for Districtwide Academic Acceleration and Support as Outlined in the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan (09-09-22)

CONTACT: Shannon Haber
communications@lausd.net  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2022

Preliminary Smarter Balanced Assessment Results Reflect Urgent Need for Districtwide Academic Acceleration and Support as Outlined in the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan

Los Angeles, CA (September 9, 2022) – Los Angeles Unified has released the preliminary Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA) results from the California Department of Education for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, providing Los Angeles Unified with a high level understanding of our students’ academic performance following the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights include:

English Language Arts

  • Districtwide, the percentage of students scoring in the Standard Met or Standard Exceededachievement levels decreased by 2.26 percentage points when compared to 2018-19, from 43.93 percent to 41.67 percent.
  • The percentage of students scoring in the Standard Met or Standard Exceeded achievement levels decreased in every grade level except for grade eight. In grade eight, scores for students meeting or exceeding standards increased by 0.47 percentage points, from 41.20 percent in 2018-19 to 41.67 in 2021-22.
  • Among all grade levels, the greatest decrease was observed at grade eleven (7.10 percentage points), followed by grade three (4.55 percentage points), and grade four (3.98 percentage points).
  • Of the student groups reported by the State, two showed an increase since 2018-19. The percentage of Students with Disabilities meeting or exceeding standards increased by 0.30 percentage points (from 11.81 to 12.11), and the percentage of Asian students meeting or exceeding standards increased by 0.98 percentage points (from 76.14 to 77.12).

Mathematics

  • Districtwide, the percentage of students scoring in the Standard Met or Standard Exceededachievement levels decreased by 5.03 percentage points when compared to 2018-19, from 33.50 to 28.47.
  • The percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards decreased in every grade level. The greatest decrease was observed in grade eleven (9.73 percentage points – from 28.61 to 18.88), followed by grade eight (5.83 percentage points – from 29.27 to 23.44), and grade six (5.73 percentage points – from 32.56 to 26.83).
  • The percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards decreased for every student group reported by the State.

The State will release official results later this Fall. Please visit CAASPP Test Results for prior year results and new results once released.

It has been extensively reported that student achievement has declined nationwide since the pandemic based on recent results from a range of standardized assessments including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). These results indicate that the pandemic erased two decades of progress in math and reading.

“As anticipated, the preliminary state assessment results illustrate that there is no substitute for in-person instruction,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Los Angeles Unified is proactively addressing the decline in achievement performance, particularly in English language arts and mathematics, at all grade levels. We are working collaboratively to accelerate and realize the learning potential of every student, bolstering important support systems including instructional, mental health, and community supports to meet the needs of our students and realize our goals outlined in our 2022-2026 Strategic Plan.”

As the largest public school district in California, Los Angeles Unified urges the State of California to expedite the full release of test scores annually to inform the community and enable the District to take immediate action to meet the needs of our most vulnerable, at-risk student populations. 

Targeted support, including additional acceleration days and impactful, rigorous, standards-based instruction, are critical for students. This is especially true as it relates to students not currently meeting standards-based learning targets, an opportunity gap impacting our Black and Latinx students rates higher than their peers across subject areas and grade levels.

As outlined in the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, Los Angeles Unified will utilize SBA data as an indicator of Districtwide progress, aiming to achieve and surpass our District Goals, while prioritizing an equitable approach to support for all students.

This includes the following strategies:

  • Build capacity of our educators to deliver impactful, rigorous, standards-based, culturally responsive and inclusive instruction in all core subject areas with a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy.
  • Provide targeted professional learning opportunities and coaching for teachers at highest-needs schools that result in effective, equity-driven instruction.
  • Analyze and act upon English Language Arts and Mathematics assessment data to guide instructional planning and personalized learning so all students reach proficiency.
  • Target high-impact intervention and instructional programs to accelerate learning.
  • Act upon early-warning indicators to ensure all students remain on track.
  • Offer multiple opportunities for intervention and credit recovery in English Language Arts, Mathematics and other subjects during and outside of the regular school day to students in need.

“Los Angeles Unified has acted with urgency to ensure our students have the necessary supports to recover from the pandemic this year, and these results further underscore the need,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “We have invested in strategies – from ensuring there's a teacher in every classroom to summer school, tutoring and mental health supports – that will help us accelerate learning for all students, particularly our highest needs students who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic."

“This is a sobering acknowledgement of the harms of extended school closures and the other challenges of the pandemic,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “We must urgently support students to get them back on track and I have confidence that, with our Strategic Plan, we’re headed in the right direction.”

“We must accelerate the urgency for which we are providing support and resources to our students,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “It is of the utmost priority to facilitate the academic promise to our students.” 

“Si se puede,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Our amazing school communities will focus on the needs of our children to support them and their recovery from the pandemic. Our schools continue to lead the way to wellness and a bright future.”

“It is well known that the struggle with online learning during the pandemic hindered the academic achievements of our most vulnerable student populations,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “Since the return of in-person instruction, Los Angeles Unified has provided targeted supports and interventions as well as tutoring services to all students. Although this year’s preliminary, Smarter Balanced Assessment results show a decline, I am confident that with a rigorous curriculum and the appropriate supports our students will improve their test scores and get back on track.”

“Despite heroic efforts by students and teachers to keep learning on track, it’s no secret that the pandemic posed a significant challenge to student achievement,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “But there’s no surrender. We have evidence-based strategies ready, including additional educational, mental health, and community supports for students and resources for teachers, to ensure every child is prepared to succeed.”

“Our 2022 Smarter Balanced Assessment results are unquestionably an urgent call to action to immediately, strategically, and continuously maximize every instructional minute we have with our students and to increase those minutes for our most historically marginalized students, who experienced the greatest loss during the pandemic,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “While social-emotional recovery remains foundational for preparing students to access academic content, our entire system must also balance meeting the wellness needs of students and staff with more targeted learning time, such as our four optional Acceleration Days, after-school and Saturday tutoring and in-school intervention. Los Angeles Unified employees, like our students, are resilient learners, and we can absolutely make meaningful growth this year and achieve our big goals together.”

For the most up-to-date information, please follow Los Angeles Unified on Twitter at @laschools and @lausdsup, Instagram at @laschools and @lausdsup and Facebook at @laschools and @AlbertoMCarvalho1.

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